America opens for vaccinated people: travelers to the USA should know that now

For more than a year and a half, the United States was inaccessible to vacationers. Now tourists can look forward to New York, Florida and the great national parks again. But you have to pay attention to a few things.

Nothing works without a vaccination. Complete vaccination protection is the basic requirement for traveling to the USA from November 8th. After more than a year and a half, it was practically impossible to enter the country. These are the new rules for vacationers, but also for business travelers.

When does it start and what are the specific requirements?

From November 8th, fully vaccinated people will be allowed to enter the USA again. To do this, they must have taken off by plane for the USA after midnight US East Coast Time. In addition to the protection provided by the vaccine, a negative Covid test (PCR or antigen) is also required, which must not be older than three days. Or a notification that you have survived corona disease in the past 90 days. Children under two years of age do not need to present a test.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes, but only a few: All minors (U-18), diplomats and government officials, people with certain medical impairments or people who have been issued a humanitarian or emergency exception are not affected. These few non-vaccinated people have to present a negative Covid test before the flight, which must not be older than 24 hours. In many cases, they will have to commit to a week of isolation.

Which vaccines are accepted?

The vaccines from Biontech / Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca, Covishield, BIBP / Sinopharm, Sinovac and Johnson & Johnson are accepted. A mixture of the specified vaccines is also permitted. It is important, however, that the last injection was at least 14 days ago.

What evidence of vaccines received will be accepted?

Both digital and analog evidence are accepted as long as they are issued by official bodies such as national health authorities or affiliated institutes.

This applies to smartphone apps with QR codes, digital downloads of issued certificates and paper documents such as vaccination certificates. However, the documents must at least show the full name and date of birth of a person as well as the issuing institution, the vaccine used and the dates of the injections.

What applies to those who have recovered?

The CDC writes: “If you have recently recovered from Covid-19, you can travel with proof of recovery from Covid-19 instead.” This means: You need a positive corona test, which must not be older than 90 days, and a corresponding certificate that you are fit to travel.

Is there a mask requirement on the plane?

Yes. Likewise at the airports.

What applies to unvaccinated children – and thus to family vacations?

Nothing stands in the way of family vacations: According to the CDC, minors do not have to go to the quarantine of seven days, which is actually mandatory for non-vaccinated people, when traveling with their parents. After arriving in the USA, however, they would have to be tested again. In addition, children of fully vaccinated parents can be tested up to three – instead of one – days before departure.

Do I have to expect longer waiting times when entering the country?

In general, there can always be longer waiting times at airports such as the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York. Since the required documents related to Corona are checked before departure, travelers should plan more time at the departure airport.

Has anything changed when you arrived with Esta?

A valid Esta document or visa is still required to enter the USA. In addition to all Corona documents.

Is there anything else to consider because of the corona situation in the USA?

The Federal Foreign Office notes that the Federal Republic of Germany continues to classify the USA as a high-risk area. However, the number of infections per region varies greatly. Travelers should inform themselves about specific regulations and corona restrictions in individual states or districts before the flight.

According to the current status, what applies to the return journey from the USA?

In general, all people from the age of twelve must be able to prove a vaccination or recovery or a negative corona test when entering Germany – regardless of the country of travel. All returnees must also complete an electronic entry form. There is no exception for children under the age of twelve.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 211104-99-868200 / 2 (dpa)

CDC guidelines

White House Proclamation

CDC information on vaccines